Met wants to buy more armoured vehicles to clear streets of rioters
Justin Davenport, Crime Editor
22 Feb 2012
Scotland Yard is planning to buy more military-style armoured vehicles to help tackle any future rioting.
A delegation of police officers held talks with manufacturers at an international conference in Hampshire yesterday. The Met is understood to be considering expanding its fleet of armoured vehicles as one of several measures to counter further possible outbreaks of disorder.
Scotland Yard already has 13 bullet and bomb-proof armoured trucks, called Jankels, which were deployed as a last resort during the riots in
London last summer. The vehicles were driven at speed towards petrol-bomb-throwing rioters and looters in Clapham in a successful attempt to disperse them.
The tactic was used as police struggled to keep control on the streets and considered using rubber bullets to quell the disorder. Senior officers want to acquire more of the seven-tonne trucks but they are expected to face questions over the £128,000 cost of each vehicle.
The Met’s Jankels were originally intended to play a counter-terrorist role and are normally deployed at Heathrow.
They have bullet-proof glass and tyres and a blast-resistant floor which allow them to withstand bullets from AK47s and a large bomb exploding at close range. They also have bars on the front to punch through barricades and can carry eight fully-equipped police officers in air-conditioned comfort.
The police delegation which attended the International Armoured Vehicles exhibition at Farnborough yesterday included an officer from the Territorial Support Group.
Jankel, which is based in Surrey, featured a prominent picture of one of its Guardian vehicles – which were deployed in Clapham during the riots – at its exhibition stand.
The Met delegation is thought to have held talks with other armoured vehicle manufacturers including Renault Defense and US-based Oshkosh.
Similar armoured cars have been at the forefront of the police and military operations to crush pro-democracy protests in countries such as Syria and Bahrain.
Scotland Yard refused to comment in detail on their plans but issued a statement saying: “It is important that we are familiar with the new vehicle technology to ensure we can provide a suitable solution.”
The trucks can also act as a base for hostage negotiations or as a hostage rescue vehicle.
Police see the use of armoured vehicles as a safer alternative to using rubber bullets or water cannon on violent protesters.